Lincoln City v Dartford


Dartford follow up a great week for the club with a trip to Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank on Saturday.

Princes Park not only hosted its first international, in which Turkey B defeated England C by a goal to nil, the following night saw the Darts progress to the F.A Trophy semi-final.

Just over a week ago Dartford had to fight hard to earn a Quarter Final replay against Conference North side FC Halifax Town. With the Shaymen down to ten men Lee Gregory put the hosts ahead and Danny Harris equalised. On Wednesday night, the Shaymen took the lead again after only two minutes when Dan Gardener scored from six yards. The Yorkshire club stayed in front into the break leaving everything to do for the Darts.

Tony Burman took advantage of the interval because his side turned the match around. A trio of midfielders blasted the Darts into a 3-1 lead. Lee Noble scored his fourth goal of the season through a crowded box. Two minutes later the returning Elliot Bradbrook netted with a well taken finish. The pick of the bunch came courtesy of winger Ryan Hayes who expertly curled his shot beyond Matt Glennon. FC Halifax Town set up a dramatic finish with Gardener’s second of the match, then the visitors conceded a penalty immediately afterwards. Bradbrook took responsibility and struck the spot kick against the crossbar but the hosts held out to progress into the last four and face top of the table Grimsby Town.

It was a much needed victory for Dartford after suffering a 5-0 away defeat last weekend at Mansfield Town. Despite drawing a blank and conceding five, Burman was happy with some aspects of the match, he told BBC Sport: “Mansfield Town played very very well second half, but first half we bossed the game completely – we should have gone 1-0 up. We bossed the first half and thought we could get something out of the game”, he added: “The story of the game was in the two boxes. They were better in our box than we were in their box, it’s as simple as that”.

Dartford’s heaviest defeat of the season slipped the club back down to tenth position in the Conference Premier, six points behind the playoffs. The Darts have now lost five of their last six league games on the road, picking up a solitary point.

In a slump of their own, Lincoln City have gone seven league games without a win. Manager David Holdsworth has had to tighten the purse strings recently and contract talks have to wait. The Imps last tasted league victory against the Darts back in December.

Two months ago, Dartford suffered a dreadful start conceding four goals in the first half against the Imps. Goals from Daniel Gray and a first half hat trick from Colin Larkin put the away side 4-1 up at half time. The now departed Harry Crawford pulled two back for the Darts but the mountain was too big to climb.

Lincoln City experienced a dramatic change in fortune when the slipped out of the Football League two years ago and they will be hoping for history not to repeat itself. After a very good October and November the Lincolnshire club reached ninth in the Conference Premier, they are now in seventeenth and three points above the drop zone.

Consistency is a word fans and staff crave at Sincil Bank, not only has the on pitch form been up and down but the playing staff has chopped and changed. Holdsworth has so far used more players (32) then any other Conference Premier club. One of those players who have stood out is Daniel Gray who has missed just one match. Whilst Jamie Taylor and Colin Larkin have scored seventeen league goals between them, first choice goalkeeper Paul Farman has kept only three clean sheets.

Team News

Elliot Bradbrook returned to starting action after a month on the sidelines. Tom Champion will make his 100th league start if selected in the first eleven. Lee Burns will reach 150 starts for the club in all competitions if he is picked by Burman.

In January, Lincoln City full back Paul Robson, goalkeeper Jake Turner, defenders Elliot Green and Dan Coupland have all left Sincil Bank with another three players departing since the last meeting against the Darts. Holdsworth has signed Paul Turnbull on loan from Northampton Town until the end of the season, the midfielder has featured in just one fixture.

Head to Head

Lincoln City wins: 1 / Dartford wins 0 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Lincoln City (LLDLLW) Dartford (LWLDDW)
Newport County H 2-4 Mansfield Town A 0-5
Southport A 2-4 Macclesfield Town H 2-0
Ebbsfleet United A 1-1 Alfreton Town A 2-3
Grimsby Town H 1-4 Ebbsfleet United A 2-2
Woking H 0-2 Cambridge United H 1-1
Hereford United H 3-2 Ebbsfleet United H 3-1

Last Meeting

8 December 2012 – Dartford 2 Lincoln City 4 – Att: 1466

Goalscorers: Crawford (49, 71); Gray (7), Larkin (24, 32, 45)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Ajayi, Rose, Champion, Bradbrook, Rogers, Noble, Harris, Crawford (subs used: Hayes, Wallis, Erskine)

The Imps Lineup: Preece, Robson, Mills, Miller, Gilbert, Smith, Gray, Nicolau, Fofana, Oliver, Larkin (sub used: Robinson)

Match Stats



1 – Dartford have won once away from Princes Park against teams currently below them in the league table

8 – Lincoln City have scored in their last eight league matches

24 – Dartford are bottom of the current away form table

29 – The Imps have conceded 29 home goals in the Conference Premier, the worst home defence of 2012/13

2199 – The average league attendance at Sincil Bank this season


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